Col. Jackson Emelius Gilleland, Longtime Employee of the Tennessee Valley Authority, dies at age 96

BY 
March 14, 2014

Col. Jackson Emelius Gilleland, P.E., L.S., M.ASCE, longtime chief of Power Supply Planning, director of Power Resource Planning, and assistant manager of Power for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), passed away on February 4 at the age of 96. Born August 6, 1917, Gilleland grew up in Abbeville, South Carolina, and graduated from the Citadel with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He received the institution’s Award of Gold Stars for academic excellence and was a member of The Round Table. Upon graduation he received a teaching fellowship at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville, where he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and was elected to Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Fraternities. Gilleland joined the UT faculty and taught civil engineering until, with America’s entry into World War II, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1941. He served in North Africa and Italy with the Fifth Army as commanding officer of the 46th Ordnance Company, executive officer and maintenance officer of the 42nd Ordnance Battalion, battalion commander of the 67th Ordnance Battalion, and executive officer and commanding officer of the 53rd Ordnance Group. For his distinguished service, Gilleland received the European–African–Middle Eastern Theater Medal with four Bronze Stars for his service in the Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Northern Appenines, and Po Valley campaigns. Additionally, he was awarded the American Theater Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Medalha de Guerra (Brazilian) Medal. Discharged in 1946, Gilleland served for the next 26 years in the Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Hired by the TVA in 1946, he worked for the agency for 23 years. Among the highlights of his career, Gilleland was instrumental in TVA’s transition to nuclear power and in the planning of the first nuclear power plant at Browns Ferry. He served on national committees covering a wide area of electric power interests, and chaired committees for the Electric Power Research Institute and National Power Survey. While working with the International Atomic Energy Agency, he assisted the Philippine government in appraising the feasibility of nuclear power and also provided counsel to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation. Gilleland retired from the TVA in 1979 but remained as a consultant to the agency before leaving to become senior consultant to the SM Stoller Corporation. A professional engineer in South Carolina and Tennessee, Gilleland was not only a member of ASCE, but also of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Chattanooga Engineers Club.

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